News : Helpline Support for Mental Health
London, UK, Dec 24, 2015 -- A 24-hour-a-day telephone support line has been welcomed by those who suffer with mental ill health.
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s (SLaM) helpline is for service users, carers and anyone who needs advice, help and assistance while in crisis or facing difficulties dealing with mental illness.
A range of supportive interventions, advice on mental health and medication, accessing services, crisis reviews and liaison with care teams will be offered.
Launched on Friday, December 18, the freephone number is staffed by a team of six nurses covering 24-hours-a-day and is available to anyone in Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Croydon.
Garry Ellison, a former service user who now works for SLaM’s recovery college and the Solidarity in Crisis service, said it was a "fantastic idea".
He said: "This line is a fantastic idea. There are many times when people need help and have previously only been able to receive it between 9am and 5pm.
"Even knowing such a service exists has helped my wellbeing and I am sure it will help many others. This service has huge potential."
Martin Baggaley, SLaM medical director, said: "This is a really significant step forward in helping people who are going through a mental health crisis and is the first 24/7 telephone service for the Trust.
"Calls will be answered by a nurse and we will then explore with callers the reasons why they have contacted us and identify what can help at that time and for the future.
"We will be working collaboratively with both PALS and Solidarity in a Crisis to provide the widest range of options to help."
The support service was developed in line with Crisis Concordat and is part of all borough action plans and is jointly funded by the four borough’s clinical commissioning groups.
As well as the new support line for patients SLaM has reviewed the street triage telephone service that was piloted for one year and will be opening up the line 24 hours a day.
This enables a frontline professional to ring the team at any time when in contact either in the street or in private premises with people whom they believe may be in mental distress.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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NHS foundation trusts are semi-autonomous organisational units within the National Health Service in England. They have a degree of independence from the Department of Health (and, until the abolition of SHAs in 2013, their local strategic health authority). As of March 2014 there were 147 NHS Foundation Trusts.
Published: Monday, December 28, 2015
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